Did you know you can double the performance of your advertising campaigns by using intent data with marketing?
I sat down with Karla Rivershaw, head of field and partner marketing at Infogrid, who has been using Bombora intent data (which is part of the Radiate B2B platform) since 2020.
- How to combine intent data inside Hubspot to power LinkedIn campaigns
- Use topics to contextualise messaging
- Work with sales to notify (via Slack) and design email sequences.
From Karla: “Definitely, what I can say with absolute certainty is that introducing intent data really helps to initially open those doors with these people and just make sure that you’re landing the right message.”
Watch the full episode below or you can watch the highlights here.
Read the full transcript:
[00:00:00] Riaz Kanani: Hello everybody and welcome to another session of Think Human. today we’re going to be talking about, getting an unfair advantage with intent data. So welcome to today’s session. Before I kick off, what I want to just quickly do is do some housekeeping and just talk you through how today will work.
It’s, pretty informal. It’s myself and actually it’s just Karla, who’s with me today. Alex, unfortunately, was taken ill this morning. Nothing serious, but he is resting and we obviously hope he feels better soon. What we’ll do is we’ll get him back in a couple of weeks and we’ll do another session with him then. So look out for that.
The other thing that I always say with these things is the downside to broadcasting through the internet is that we can’t see your reactions or what you’re thinking. So do share your, emojis, share your thoughts, share your questions. I will be watching for them and we will answer them as we go. And then a few things on me and then I’ll bring Karla in and we can get started.
My name’s Riaz Kanani. You can see that on the screen hopefully. I am the CEO and founder of Radiate B2B. I spent 20 years in marketing tech and working for or helping, both large companies and small to deliver things from video advertising to email marketing and B2B marketing automation. Today though, I set up Radiate because we felt the way B2B sales and marketing was changing. The days of just picking up the phone and dropping cold emails, I think for most of you in the audience know those days are long gone. And likewise in marketing, the way you do B2B marketing is changing. We’ll talk a bit about that in a bit. Radiate B2B is all about helping that top of the funnel and helping you figure out who you should speak to with intent data, but also other things. so let me know if you’re interested in talking about that.
But without further ado, let’s bring Karla in. I know she’s waiting patiently in the background.
[00:02:51] Karla Rivershaw:
Hi. Yeah, great to be here. And hi everybody. So just a quick intro from me. my name is Karla Rivershaw. I am currently the, the marketing lead for global campaigns and EMEA marketing at, company called Infogrid, which is, the company that’s looking to help, tackle climate change through looking at building operations and how we can drive efficiencies across buildings. So yeah, really exciting space. prior to Infogrid, I’ve worked in a series of different companies from big and small, working at companies like Thompson Reuters, and also used to head up the marketing for a company called Turtl.
Intent data really is one of my absolute favorite topics to talk about in marketing. So, yeah. excited to be here.
[00:03:35] Riaz Kanani: Brilliant. Thanks. Really good to have you, Karla. yeah, I, intent data is obviously close to my heart. For those in the audience, I don’t know how many of you have heard of the dark funnel?
It’s one of the sort of latest catchphrases if you like, and it’s this idea that there’s a lot of activity that’s happening outside of your bubble and so that could be the traditional sort of word of mouth, but also conversations on the internet, on LinkedIn. When you share a post with somebody, internally, as a marketer or salesperson, you can’t see that happening.
As well as all the research that happens around the internet. And so all of that happens invisible to you as a sales marketer. And intent data is this idea and the dark funnel is this idea of shining a light on that activity. So that you can help those sales and marketing efforts. Karla, what brought you to intent data?
What was the drive?
[00:04:24] Karla Rivershaw: So there’s actually, it’s a kind of a funny story and it’s very clear in my mind that moment when I knew I needed to start bringing intent data into my marketing playbook. So this was going back, I think probably 2020 lockdown, if we can all cast our minds back to that when none of us had any lives.
And, so yeah, it was, I think right in the middle of a lockdown, so there really was nothing to do. And so I would often spend my evenings in my kitchen making dinner or whatever, but I would be listening in the background to phone conversations that my SDR team were doing. I always found it really useful to hear the sorts of conversations they were having, the sort of messaging that was landing and also as a way for me to be able to provide feedback to the head of sales development on what I’m hearing and how maybe messaging could be. And there was this one particular conversation that one of the SDRs had. They called up this, this woman who worked for a big insurance company and basically obviously trying to pitch our product.
And this woman got extremely irate with the SDR and said, I don’t know why you’re calling me right now. If you called me a year ago, I would’ve been interested because I was in market at that time. But then we ended up going with some other solution provider and actually we’re really unhappy with what they’re doing and we’re stuck in a three year contract with them.
I don’t understand why you’re calling me now. Basically. Leave me alone. And it was quite a funny thing to listen to, but at the same time it got me thinking as well around the timing of all of this. How could we have timed things better? How could we have been in touch with her when she was actively in market for a solution like this?
[00:06:06] Karla Rivershaw: And that’s ultimately what brought me to intent data. I realised that actually, that was the missing ingredient for us in our marketing mix. To be able to pinpoint when people are looking for something like what we were trying to sell.
[00:06:17] Riaz Kanani: Yeah. Yeah, and that’s a common story. and It’s interesting that I think as time goes by and more and more people are expecting people to understand their situation better, aren’t they?
They are expecting you to understand who they are as a business and understand the context more. Tell me a bit about the intent data that you used in the end. There’s obviously lots of different types of intent data. I was at Brighton SEO a couple of weeks ago and they were talking about intent, but from a search standpoint. So there’s lots of different uses of the phrase, what does intent data mean to you in terms of the different types?
[00:06:52] Karla Rivershaw: Yeah, for sure. And totally agree. Everyone has a slightly different interpretation of intent. I guess my core experience of intent data is through understanding what people are actively searching for at the moment. So that’s my interpretation of intent data.
I know from our conversations, Karla, that y you took that data and you applied it in lots of different ways. Do you want to talk us through what those were?
[00:07:24] Karla Rivershaw: Yeah. yeah, absolutely. There were a lot of different ways we did this. I think first and foremost, what I wanted to make sure, as you should do when you’re implementing any kind of marketing technology is to make sure you’ve got a really robust implementation plan and integration plan. And so I was using HubSpot as my CRM marketing automation platform, and I just needed to make sure that as much as possible, I could integrate that intent data into the system because that should be your single source of truth.
And that drove a lot of actions across the business. So that was number one. And I can certainly speak a bit more towards how that actually played out in reality. But, in terms of some of the use cases, Advertising Yeah. really powerful in terms of targeting the right people with the right message at the right time.
Looking at the type of messaging that our sales team are using, whether they’re calling people, whether they’re, putting people into email sequences, just making sure again, that it’s the right message is landing at the right time. Using it from like an account selection perspective.
[00:08:25] Karla Rivershaw: So if we’re doing account based marketing or even just, helping the SDR team to identify which accounts they should be focused on from an outbounding perspective, again, that was really powerful too. Yeah, those are probably some of the main ways that we used intent data, but obviously happy to go into more detail on those.
[00:08:44] Riaz Kanani: Why don’t we start with, why don’t we start with the advertising, and then work our way through those ones that you talked about. How did you use it? What did you see and how did you integrate it into the wider program?
[00:08:53] Karla Rivershaw: Sure. So, when we were in discussions, they actually pulled some sample data for us and we ran some ads targeting the accounts, using that sample data over the space of I think one or two weeks, and we basically did an AB test. So we, we set, the advertising to those accounts and then to just more of a random set of accounts that we thought fit our ICP just to see which ones performed better.
And as I’m sure you would expect, of course, the ones where there was that intent, where we knew the messaging was on point, those ones did perform significantly better. I think it was probably about twice as strong as the ones that didn’t have that intent data. Plus a few other exercises I did helped to validate that intent data was the way forward for us in our business.
And so we ended up creating lists within HubSpot where we would pull together accounts and we would have maybe a three or four week window where it would capture all of those accounts that are interested in a specific topic and push that through to LinkedIn . And that actually worked a lot better for us.
[00:09:59] Riaz Kanani: Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. . Interesting. And then what did you do at the end of that period? So did, was it just a silo of that four week period and then after that, did you, I assume you were tracking conversions or activity of some sort?
[00:10:12] Karla Rivershaw: Yeah, of course. And I just to be clear, like any activity that happens in my marketing team, it, it doesn’t operate in a silo. We do have a kind of full marketing campaign with a lot of different elements in the mix. So that would’ve, for instance, any accounts that would’ve gone into that would’ve probably been assigned to a specific messaging, which aligned to a specific campaign that we were running.
So there would be a lot of content assets around that. There would be obviously, contacts that convert would be ending up in our CRM. We would have a whole sequence of activities that happen once they get into our CRM. if it’s SDR follow up or if we don’t feel that the, contact is sufficiently engaged, then we would enter them into some kind of marketing nurture and maybe invite them to some kind of webinar that’s related to that topic.
So you start to take them on a journey. But those are just things that any marketer really should be doing. But the important thing was that we. Capturing people at the right time. And we definitely saw an acceleration in terms of how those contacts were engaging with us and how quickly we were able to move them through the funnel.
[00:11:18] Riaz Kanani: Yep. Yeah. And that joined up approach, it’s so important to, to driving, our sales and marketing in general today, not just these types of programmes. Let’s move across to, you talked about, outbound and sales. The sales side. So I know we’ve got a large number of sales people on this call as well.
How did that work? Did you pass everything directly to sales, or was there a process that you went through?
[00:11:42] Karla Rivershaw: Yeah. So it was definitely a kind of process of iteration over time. We were learning as we were going on because this was a brand new data set for us. And so to begin with, yes, absolutely pushed everything through to sales. And so what I set up were some workflows and some rules within HubSpot to basically pinpoint accounts to SDRs and so that they knew, okay, these accounts that you’re responsible for, are surging this week for the following topics. And then we had email sequences in place, which helped them to very quickly respond to that.
The kind of the process that we had, and this was when I was at Turtl, the process that we had was a Slack notification, for instance, would go to the AE and the SDR responsible for that particular account to say, Hey, just to let you know, this account is surging for this and this week.
So then they would be like, okay, action station. So they would get, we had a research team that would basically help them to identify as many contacts as possible within that account. That data was already available because maybe it was an account that they were already actively working, but other times it was net new and they needed to do that research.
[00:12:56] Karla Rivershaw: They’d find as many contacts as they can, get those into HubSpot. And then there were already some pre-prepared, yeah, sequences, email sequences that they were able to drop these people into. There were call scripts ready so that the SDR could start picking up the phone and trying to connect with these people.
And basically we would operate in a one to two week, time period where they would be actively working that account before moving on to the next batch of accounts that are surging for a particular week. So it ended up being quite a well oiled machine. And from my perspective, I was obviously really deep in the data, trying to understand how many meetings are being booked off the back of this intent data we’re providing them.
So meeting with SDR team, probably about twice a week to understand how that progress is going. Having dashboards set up within HubSpot so we could see, day by day, week by week, how are we doing from a meeting booking perspective. Yes. and then also, what happens after that? How does that meeting convert into business?
And, I think we had a sales cycle that could last anything between three to 12 months. So it was pretty
[00:14:00] long, our sales cycle. And we were actually able to, not all the time, but a number of times be able to significantly reduce that sales cycle. I think the best one I saw was about six weeks, which was unheard of. Absolutely unheard of for the business at the time. So that really says a lot in terms of making sure you’re communicating with people at the exactly the right time.
[00:14:22] Riaz Kanani: Yeah, that makes sense. And did you adapt your messaging? For those that need a little bit of more detail around how intent data works is obviously when you’re seeing activity across the internet, you obviously need to categorise it. And Karla talked a bit about keywords and topics earlier. And so you get this range of topics that you see that, that that are suited to you, that you can see per company basically. And so did you use that information to then tailor messaging?
[00:14:53] Karla Rivershaw: For sure. Exactly. So if we put it in the context of the world I worked in at Turtl, we were interested in people who were researching things like content personalisation or interactive content or sales enablement content. And we had a whole list probably, I don’t know, there was probably about 20 keywords and we narrowed it down to maybe sort of 10, which we considered really high intent keywords for our business and we basically had sequences for all of those.
So if somebody was, researching content personalisation, then we’re like, okay, we’re going to send out the sequence that talks about how powerful Turtl is from a content personalisation perspective, or if it’s self enablement. We’ll talk about sales enablement. So it’s absolutely adapting to what we understand about those accounts.
And more often than not, people did respond really well to that and we did sometimes get people say, that’s amazing. We are, we’ve actually just been talking about this in a team meeting just now. So it’s a bit spooky sometimes, but it really does work.
[00:15:55] Riaz Kanani: Yeah. Yeah. Agreed. Agreed. Ryan’s just, posed a question around, [00:16:00] the process you have is, sounds incredibly comprehensive. How did you test into that? How did you get to that level of comprehensiveness. To be honest, it got more comprehensive. So that was just like level one. We need to get this intent data into the hands of salespeople, to get to that point, I found a few, I guess champions within the SDR and the sales team that were willing to test this out with me. I had one of my favorite SDRs, and I basically was feeding him this data every week and saying, this account is searching for this.
[00:16:34] Karla Rivershaw: Here’s some messaging. Try that out. And he managed to book meetings off the back of it. And so that was quite validating. So again, for building my business case to buy a solution like this, it really helped. And then once we actually had the solution in place, it was, yeah, it was just picking a few people that I could work with.
Just test it, make sure that this process is working, make sure the types of notifications that are going to them are the right ones. They’re not too annoying. We can build this into our workflow. And once we were seeing success, we scaled it from there. If you have something that works and it’s helping SDRs book more meetings, then the rest of the SDRs are going to want access to this too.
It wasn’t a particularly challenging thing to scale it.
[00:17:15] Riaz Kanani: Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. I guess the dream would be for the intent data to just tell you only the companies that are in market today that are just ready to buy. Right. And of course it doesn’t just do that tells you everybody that is in that buying cycle right from the very beginning, to the very end and you talked about the timeframe there of that first deal in the first, inside six weeks type thing. Yeah. And I’m guessing you saw the full range though, right?
So yes, it, it increased the likelihood of having those conversations, but, you would see people that were earlier in the process, later in the process and everything in between. Absolutely. You have to be realistic because every business operates differently.
[00:17:52] Karla Rivershaw: There are tonnes of factors affecting the decision making process and the buying cycle. And, big businesses are typically going to be a lot slower to move forward with than smaller businesses. External factors like recession and all of these things, there’s just so many levers that could potentially cause your deal to speed up or slow down.
But definitely what I can say with absolute certainty is that introducing intent data really helps to initially open those doors with these people and just make sure that you’re landing the right message. And that’s often the hardest thing to do. getting your foot in the door is great.
Yeah. Especially, especially for an sdr who’s, having to build relation, do research as well, in advance of those conversations. And if they can’t get through, it’s wasted time, isn’t it? Did you try any other channels with intent data? I guess in terms of other applications for me, so I spoke about using HubSpot as that single source of truth.
And I think for me, I wanted to be as sophisticated as possible when it came to pinpointing where we should be focusing our energies as a commercial organisation. And like I mentioned, step one was just get this data into the hands of the SDRs and the salespeople so that they can start actioning it. You know, you have to recognise that intent is obviously really important, but it’s not the only thing that we should be using to decide who we should go after and I had to look back at some of the more traditional forms of identifying accounts, such as, just general lead scoring that every marketer should have in place within their system.
For instance, like I’ve just been through the process of refining our lead scoring at Infogrid, and there are two main levers that we’re looking at there. One is like the firmographic fit and the other is the engagement that they have. So have they been on your website or have they, been reading some of your content or attended a webinar or, whatever it might be.
[00:19:51] Karla Rivershaw: And so most marketers will have some kind of lead scoring mechanism in place to understand those two factors and to help SDRs and salespeople to figure out who they need to be speaking to and when and so what I needed to do was to actually be able to bring these two worlds together so that we are not just looking at intent and not just looking at engagement or firmographic, but actually you’re looking at the full picture and I went about to build with my team was something which was just pulling all of these data sources together into a kind of really cohesive, yeah, just mechanism that would help the sales team, the SDRs, to be able to understand at an individual level, but also at an account level, what is going on here and who should we be focusing on and assigning different scoring systems to each of these and trying, it’s, it was a bit complicated cause you obviously have to weight things.
What’s more important? Is it the intent data? Is it in the engagement on your website? Is it the firmographic fit? And that was a process of iteration, but eventually where we got to, was this dashboard, and it was an individual dashboard for every member of the SDR team and the AE team to go there and be able to see a bird’s eye view of everything that’s going on across the accounts that they are responsible for, so they can see which accounts are the ones that are most valuable for them to go after right now.
Taking into account all of those factors and then within those accounts, who are the contacts we’re already engaged with right now? What are they doing? Which ones are most active right now in terms of engaging with our solution? Those should obviously be the first ones that you go after, and then obviously we can introduce additional data in that to broaden out that view.
And so basically what we ended up implementing was this really rigorous process where as a commercial organisation, we would constantly be going back to those dashboards. And we obviously had management dashboards as well to see the full picture of the commercial team and say, okay. This next month we are going to be focused on the following 10 accounts, and we would build out really robust marketing and sales plans to go after those accounts.
And it was, yeah, it was amazing to see everybody come together, but by the time we got to that, we obviously already had a lot more confidence in terms of the data that, that we were looking at. We’d seen results come from it. It wasn’t perfect. There’s always going to be anomalies that go in there, but, I’ve, yeah, I’ve never experienced something like that before where we’re just all, laser focused on the same accounts and working together as a team to go after them.
[00:22:21] Riaz Kanani: Yeah. And it’s, I mean, some of what you’ve described, a very strong account based marketing approach, isn’t it? For, and bringing together that sales and marketing teams, and then obviously you, and you’ve combined that really well, actually with the scale, of having to go into a more demand gen, type programme as well. Really interesting. I don’t have any other questions come in.
If there are questions out there, then please do ask now. If you could summarise in sort of 30 seconds what you think was the most valuable, thing to building out that intent programme and how you found it, that would be really useful, for the audience, just as a takeaway at the end.
I think probably the biggest, um, takeaway I took from it was just how much easier it was to open those doors. Like I mentioned, it was like before that we were just constantly pushing these closed doors because we were in a space that people maybe didn’t really understand that much, and then suddenly it was like, yeah, you’re just pushing at open doors, and it’s oh yeah, we already know about this because we’ve already done some self-education.
[00:23:29] Karla Rivershaw: We’ve been researching it. That’s amazing. It just completely transforms, yeah, the way you go after accounts, Yeah, that, that would probably be the biggest takeaway for me.
[00:23:38] Riaz Kanani: Yeah, I really like that. Yeah. You’re not walking through treacle, are you? Exactly. you’re able to just push the door open. Yeah. That’s a really good summary.
Thank you Karla. Thank you again. and as Karla said, if there’s any other questions or you want to follow up separately, you’re welcome to follow up with myself as well. The best way to do it’s to DM me via LinkedIn. So with that, thank you very much everybody.